Nearly 10 years after Apple introduced its first iPhone to the market back in 2007, it's safe to say that the smartphone market has matured. While you could consider that smartphones have become a commodity purchase, they're still probably our most personal devices and educated consumers probably choose them with great care. But while everyone can appreciate a premium smartphone with a handsome design, killer specs and a great ecosystem of apps and services, that won't matter if these premium phones don't nail the basics such as voice quality and antenna performance.
Over the years, Nokia has been recognized for its sturdy, durable phones and the company's attention to detail can still be felt in recent Lumia smartphones such as the Lumia 640 or the Lumia 650. But do these phones also deliver strong voice quality as well as antenna performance? It seems they do according to an independent study by Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen from the Aalborg University investigating the antenna performance of mobile phones widely used in the Nordic Countries (via Winbuzzer). The study tested both data service and voice service of 26 recent smartphones, and the Lumia 640 and 650 both performed very well. As you can see in the image below, the Lumia 640 ranked first for data service performance while the Lumia 650 ranked fifth behind the Samsung Galaxy S7
In another test measuring voice service performance in the left hand, the Lumia 640 and Lumia 650 ranked second and third, respectively.
If you're wondering why the Microsoft's Lumia 950 and 950XL didn't perform better than the lower-end Lumias, the study explained that antenna performance depends on many factors:
The transmitter and receiver performance depends strongly on the antenna in the phone and on the way the user is holding the phone to the head during a call or in the hand during browsing mode
For many phones the voice communication performance depends strongly on which side of the head the phone is used. Up to 12 dB variation between left and right side of the head was seen for the phone with the highest variation. Variation among phones for data service is less than for voice service but still significant. A variation of some 7 to 10 dB across frequency bands and systems was seen.
If you're wondering, none of the 26 phones evaluated during the study performed very poorly, even though Apple's recent iPhones as well as some popular Android phones ranked pretty low in some tests. If you own a recent Lumia phone, let us know in the comments if you're satisfied with its voice quality and antenna performance.